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How Cisco IT Solved Its Internal Cloud Dilemma

May 7, 2014 at 4:30 pm PST

Is your organization looking to build a cloud?

You’ll want to learn how Cisco’s John Manville leveraged an internal, private, infrastructure-as-a-service cloud to drive business value.

View John Manville's Cloud Insights Video Podcast

View John Manville’s Cloud Insights Video Podcast

John Manville is responsible for Cisco’s Global IT infrastructure  - which includes the data centers,  networks, platforms and more. Overall, John’s role is to implement Fast IT, which is really about being adaptable and responsive to business needs.

What technology helps drive this responsiveness and adaptability? “There are many solutions that can help, but if I had to sum it up in one word, that word is  cloud” replied John .

Cisco uses internal cloud technology for several important business imperatives. Through the cloud, we are  balancing internal IT workloads and providing our engineering team the tools needed for OS development. We are also using the internal cloud for external capabilities. For example, Cisco Smart Services uses our internal cloud to offer services to external customers.

Recently, John had the chance to participate in a new Cloud Insights Video Podcast to discuss the challenges his team faced prior to cloud implementation. Like most IT teams, they were challenged by speed of delivery of business capabilities, driving Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)  down and completing maintenance on the underlying infrastructure with minimal impact on the business users or applications they need on a daily basis.

To offset these challenges, his team  developed and deployed CITEIS (Cisco IT Elastic Infrastructure Services), an internal, private, infrastructure-as-a-service cloud. CITEIS started off as a way to provision virtual machines, but the team quickly realized that it  wasn’t enough so they  added on more middleware and database capabilities . Now, it’s a rich service that John’s team  offers to their clients.

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Join Us May 14: Cisco Intercloud Workload Migration Webcast

The use of hybrid cloud or Intercloud technology is growing increasingly popular. A recent study supports that IT managers want a mix of public and private cloud in their enterprises. In fact, 60% of the 400 enterprises surveyed see the hybrid cloud model as the way to go.

And for good reason: The same secure, open and flexible solutions that can be found within your private data center can be implemented with a hybrid cloud set-up, providing the best of both worlds: private cloud control and flexible public clouds. And when the need arises to expand your data center, creating an Intercloud to extend your own data center and cloud capacity when you need it is an excellent option for any business of any size.

Next week, we invite you to join our informative cloud webcast: Cisco Solutions for Open and Secure Intercloud Workload Migration. You’ll gain insight as to how your organization will benefit from an Intercloud approach. The conversation will be focused on how your business can:

  • Extend your company’s capabilities, store more data and increase resources as you need them. Data centers cost to both build and operate, and InterCloud makes the public cloud an extension of your cloud.
  • Maintain your sense of security by applying your same quality of service restrictions and policies to your hybrid cloud. You may be “renting” the capacity, but for all intended purposes, you own it.
  • Keep your current cloud provider of choice and even link to more than one if you choose. The same traits are replicated in each instance of your data center.

 

When Cisco’s Global Intercloud was introduced, it completely changed the direction of how we utilized the hybrid cloud. It also showed us the need that CIOs across the globe had for a customizable, secure and high-performance data center expansion solution. And now is your chance to see why we’ve answered with Intercloud.

Registration is open, mark your calendar and join us for this webcast (available on demand):

Cisco Solutions for Open and Secure Intercloud Workload Migration.  Join our webcast to learn how the Cisco InterCloud solution helps ensure the same network security, quality of service (QoS), and access control policies previously enforced in the data center are implemented in the public cloud.  Wednesday, May 14, 9:00 a.m. Pacific Time / 12:00 pm Eastern Time

Cisco Solutions for Open and Secure Intercloud Workload Migration. Join our webcast to learn how the Cisco InterCloud solution helps ensure the same network security, quality of service (QoS), and access control policies previously enforced in the data center are implemented in the public cloud.   Available on demand.

Cisco Solutions for Open and Secure Intercloud Workload Migration

Wednesday, May 14

9:00 a.m. Pacific Time / 12:00 pm Eastern Time

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Attending Cisco Live 2014? Nine Internet of Things (IoT) solution demos you must see!

If you are like many attendees visiting Cisco Live US 2014 this year, you’ve probably experienced at least one or more power failures that significantly impacted the quality of your life and work lasting for days or weeks.  We frequently read about the impacts of power failures, but unless you work in the utility industry you probably have never heard in detail about why and how problems occur and what can be done to prevent them.

Utility Substation

Thermal Pattern of Utility Substation indicating a problem, Photo courtesy of Brady Inspections, Inc.

According to industry subject matter expert, James Brady, Level III Certified Infrared Thermographer, Brady Infrared Inspections, Inc., the applications of infrared/thermography can help to easily identify and solve many problems in 1) power plants, 2) substations, and 3) transmission and distribution equipment that can prevent outages, improve safety, security and reliability of services while also helping to prevent injuries to utility workers and citizens.

While most utility companies have active maintenance programs to conduct inspections of transformers, switches, oil-filled tank equipment including breakers, voltage regulators, lightning arrestors, feeder lines, get-a-way poles and other equipment, they frequently do this only periodically, not continuously across all their operations since they do not have the resources, expertise or tools.  Today this is changing even more rapidly as new technologies such as infrared are allowing for greater situational awareness. As James Brady points out in his article Infrared Inspection of Electric Utility Equipment: Documenting Common and Not-So-Common Thermal Exceptions, “the bottom line is infrared is a powerful tool that can identify problems quickly, accurately, and safely in the electrical utility industry.”

A Warm Utility Pole Lighting Resistor

A Warm Utility Pole Lighting Resistor, Photo courtesy of Brady Inspections, Inc.

Using infrared is a great example of a technology that can be enabled in sensors such as thermal cameras, to help utilities more effectively identify, detect and prevent problems.  Imagine if utilities could more easily harness the power of infrared technology across their operations. This is the opportunity of what is possible with the Internet of Things (IoT) and why so many IT and operational technology industries are excited about the benefits that are available.

So, today, what do you think most detracts utilities, or any business with similar operational needs, from deploying new technologies such as infrared more pervasively to optimize the utilization of their assets?

A) Lack of expertise?
B) The cost of deploying the technology economically everywhere it is needed?
C) The shortage of and abilities of people to make decisions quickly enough?
D) All of the above?

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I am meeting old colleagues again. Are you?

IoTG OandGRecently I have join the Internet of Things (IOT) Solutions Marketing team, supporting the oil, gas and mining industries and suddenly in my new role I am meeting with old pals from oil, gas and mining industries again, finding them in different events, conversations, and blogs that just some months ago I would never had thought I would.

IOT is bringing together different industries and companies that had been in parallel tracks for long time. And blurring the lines between different divisions within big companies as well.

In the past, operations, sales, marketing and technology used to interact with different people, and tackling very different problems:  they were different divisions with no common objectives or language.  It used to happen as well between the consulting services and software division and the networking and infrastructure functions within big IT organizations.

Cisco, usually was rarely present in oil and gas industry events such as OTC, Oilcomm, and ENTELEC (see Cisco’s activities at ENTELEC here).  IT big shows were distant from industry events.  In events such as Cisco Live it would be impossible to find oil & gas applications, less chance even to find big industry players in the exhibition floor.  Well, all that is changing. This year in Cisco Live  (read Roberto De La Mora’s blog on Cisco Live here), companies like Rockwell , Schneider and EATON are having booths and speaking sessions and Cisco will be showcasing solutions for Oil & Gas. Read More »

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Providing the Right Platform is Sometimes All it Takes

Change is the only constant. Except that it isn’t; constant that is. We are seeing changes to IT services, infrastructure, eco-systems, and business models, with consequent demands and expectations that we have not witnessed before. Cisco is responding to all of this with new technologies for the DevOps community, including APIs, development tools, training and more, all of which I discuss below.

The Economist likens this to the Cambrian era that saw the multiplication of life forms that populate our world today: “… this time is … different, in an important way. Today’s entrepreneurial boom is based on more solid foundations than the 1990s internet bubble, which makes it more likely to continue for the foreseeable future.”

What has made this possible, which the Economist illustrates with a variety of examples, is the ubiquity of communications and open source platforms in a “cloud” environment. The Economist lists these elements:

  • …snippets of code that can be copied free from the internet, along with easy-to-learn programming frameworks (such as Ruby on Rails).
  • … services for … sharing code (GitHub) …
  • … “application programming interfaces” (APIs), digital plugs that are multiplying rapidly …
  • … “platforms”—services that can host startups’ offerings (Amazon’s cloud computing), distribute them (Apple’s App Store) and market them (Facebook, Twitter).
  • … the internet, the mother of all platforms, which is now fast, universal and wireless.

What has also changed is that the IT stack is, in effect, collapsing. The “separation of concerns”, that kept the network infrastructure distinct from the applications running over it, is being whittled away. In October 2013 we teamed up Read More »

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